OCEAN STATIONS

PART II

A Continuation

Military.com Forums, annotated. abridged, scanned for uncouth language, and presented (per permission of Fred Siegel) for all to read by your friendly Webmaster, Jack.

It is the second and last day of our BSing session about Ocean Stations. Again, the session has been annotated and edited with the coarse profanity removed. Names have been removed to the extent possible as most were identified by aliases, monikers, nicknames, and so forth. The context remains and is as true to the original as possible. The various anonymous contributors are thanked. 

Here we go.............................


Canvas Midships and Movie Stars -- Now it was just a bit before my time on the Androscoggin.  Frank Sinatra, Tony Franciosa, Virna Lisi ? (the babe), a sunken U-Boat and the Queen Mary out in the Bahamas. Good little movie and the Androscoggin flailing around at 18 kts. From what I gather, some of the shooting was done on the Ponchartrain in Long Beach,( the SO1 sitting at the sonar is Lee Rohrig, great shipmate and friend, now crossed the bar and up on Fiddlers Green, smooth sailing now) and the Bahamas stuff done on the Andy.

 Well the Ponch. already had the midship deck house built, but the Andy didn't. If you watch the end of the movie very carefully as the WHEC 68 steams off into the sunset. Observe the midship deck house.It was constructed over 2x4's and white canvas stretched over it. You'll see the deck house flopping in the breeze and smoke belching out the stack. 


There was a remake of the Ponch's rescue of the Pam Am Clipper, which was done for a TV series call "Rescue" or something like that. The actual title of the film, I think, was "Mayday Mayday Ocean Station November.". This all took place around 1964, and the Ponch was actually out on November so the film was done on the Minnetonka. They took cardboard plates and put them over the W67 and hand painted W70 on the plates. There is an opening scene with a QM on the helm and that's me. I never did see the film as the Minnie left for Bering Sea Patrol right after the filming. 


I don't remember if I was there. Didn't see any stars if I was. Do know that had to be BT1 Reynolds? making all that smoke 


While drifting on a calm and foggy night on OS Echo, the Androscoggin drifted within a 100 feet of a Russian sub that was doing the same thing we were. Chilling out. Both of us hauled a$$ in different directions. Little while later US sub came by looking for them. End of story 


I believe that most everyone has found these sea stories entertaining and a welcome relief from the "cannon cocker's" tirades on the avaiators.I would encourage anyone who has a "sea story" to share it, lets help keep the "Old Guard" at the forefront


Quiz for the boot BM's and muddy water sailors. What is a "butter board" and what would be its application.


While I admit to borrowing a little gas prior to entering the Guard. My senior Coasties instructed me in the fine art of midnight requisltion. I believe we kept it all in the family, from one cutter to another one. Lots of good stories here. 


Sometimes borrowed from the Navy
 
Shortly after I reported to my first unit (CGC Taney) we were in a shipyard in Oakland moored next to an LST that was being decommissioned. We still had the twin 40mm at that time. One night when I had the duty the 2nd class GM enlisted the aid of myself and a couple others. We went aboard the LST late at night and liberated a couple new barrels and two loaders from the LST. Heck, they weren't going to use them anymore! 


Blew a P-250 at underway training in San diago. Two guys painted hard hats with the Navy repair ship's name. Walked aboard her and toted off a brand new P-250 the likes of which I had never seen. Passed arrival inspection with flying colors, all equipment operating 


Liberated a jeep from Vietnam. Ship had all lines singled up and everything ready to go, with the boom out over the pier. Jeep comes tearing down the dock, screeched to a halt, sling is run under it, jeep hoisted inboard and the ship is off to the Philippines, having completed a successful rescue of a jeep from the Army. Saved that poor jeep from a life under those nasty Commies.  It had a much happier life in Cavite City. 


Heavens, a ship with its own jitty. That was forward thinking. Guess you take just about any thing away from there if every body went along with it. A guy send me a case with five AK-47's in it to mail to his home when we arrive back in the states. I promptly returned them to him via the first swift boat going his way. Wanted no part of that one. 


Anybody remember the Ship Check Off Sheets? While I have not been on a large cutter since 1970 (only a 210' and a 180' after that) I am looking at the three page check off sheet from the Cutter Chincoteague from 1956. You had to demo to the BMC then that you knew and could do every thing from raising and lowering a boat to operating the portable pumps. I remember on my last weather Cutter ,the Wachusett leaving all the nightly Engineering instructions in Morse Code just so we would be up to sending messages and blinking light on our annual check off and I was a snipe. Just wondering if they do things like that any more. Sure didn't hurt any body. I still remember a little semaphore? 


A couple other memories of Ocean Stations:
Powdered milk
Bug Juice
Hump Day and a Hump Day BBQ weather permitting.
Swim call with GM's on the catwalks with rifles, acting as shark guards.
I would expect the last two were few and far between on Bravo!
I really, really hated the powdered milk! 


My first stop after ocean station was the first roadside veggie stand. Generally buy a head of lettuce to chew on the way home. Learned to love canned skim milk. Things got better as the cooks improved and the supply cleaks learned they didn't get any points for turning unused money back in. 


My first stop...was the closest place that cooked a big steak dinner and served lots of drinks. 
Second was a place with women, that served a lot of drinks....
Veggies? Yecch.....


First Stop!!!! In the late 40's,and early 50's,when we pulled in to good old Long Beach, this old Bos'n headed to the Pike to get what I was raised on and what was made in good old Kentucky. I hated the powder milk, plus the eggs. We were on station Nan and we were subjected to the culinary and cuisine chow, of Baltimore Steak. This terminology was from the WW2 days. ed note: Baltimore Steak is Liver. It was due to some one putting the wrong stencil on the wooden crates.
PS. I didn't know that the "Black Gang"was vegetarians. 


Quiz Time

How many of you old, old sailors, have spent time in the"CHAINS"????? How was the lead armed?  As a leading seaman and a young fellow of over six feet and close to two hundred lbs, the Chief thought that this would make me a well rounded sailor. Later on this was on the test for BM3.

One of the other greatest things to round me out was, the time spent on the rifle range each year. On the right hand side, it was Cape May in September, very good as the serious ladies spent time on the beach. On the left hand side it was at Camp Mathews Roberts, El-Toro,of course this was under the guidance of the Marines El Toro was like you had died ,and gone to heaven, as there was five thousand "BAMS" stationed there and they loved our white hats and clean virtuous looks. In these days, if you made expert, it paid the great amount of $5.00 per month, Sharp-shooter was good for the amount of $3.00.The fourth $5.00 I will not mention.  We used to have a ball going to the Marine range. We outranked (outrated) everybody assigned to us. The jarheads just didn't understand why we didn't jump every time they yelled. Lots more fun than breaking ice off the ship in the north Atlantic in the wee hours of the morning. 


How was the lead armed? Soap and sometimes white lead, and have you ever put the lead on the wrong side of the jackstaff? (cleared out the anchor detail.)

The old OS vessels carried a 12 inch manila towing hawser and as memory serves it was about 1200 feet long, weighed 6-7 pounds a foot dry and wet ???. On my vessels it was always recovered by hand not with the winch (Chief said it put a$$holes in the hawser. Had to keep it on deck until it dried out before stowing. Then along came nylon.. Wasn't it great? Double braid for boat falls and mooring lines. I recall redoing the splices on the manila boat falls ever three months and replacing them a couple times a year.

We boots did'nt get paid extra for our ability at the range. Wouldn't have effected me anyway "Maggies Drawers" was my deal.


On the Matagorda we had the 12 inch manila. When they gave us the 6 inch nylon, the manila was pulled off the ship with a forklift. If I remember correctly, they burned out the clutch on the forklift.


I lived for the day that we has to had to pull that big old hawser out for it's time to air out.


"Big Rope" -- I can only recall towing two times with the old manila hawser. Once was during underway training at Pearl and the mine sweeper we were towing for evaluation dumped about 800 feet of hawser and a couple of thousand foot of messenger on us. Had one of those "all hands not actually on watch lay to the fantail to retrieve towing hawser". Near wiped us all out. When we finally got it aboard they had all the messenger made up and secured to the eye. The head ship rider didn't even get upset with the mine sweeper but the Chief evaluator called them a few choice BM words. Got a 4.0 for the tow job. The UNREP was a different story. 


Nylon???? I am amazed to see that time waits on no old sailors. The "Boats" was doing the same to all the block and tackll that I did a few years before him. I made a hell of a lot of fenders, monkey fists, plus splicing the cable with a liverpool splice. In my days we never heard of nylon line. The nylon I was interested was worn by the beautiful women, we picked up on liberty. Also never heard the term shiprider, or being afloat. I was talking to one of the old.old chiefs that I served with, and he said they never had them in the South Pacific. Without a doubt, all the things that you have talked about this were by real sailors,and I would love to set and have a few with all of you and we could tell some real sea stories. 


Bermuda loved for the white cutters to tied up in Hamilton. well at least they knew where all the motor bikes and horse drawn surries were each morning. 


My Mother in Law asked me last night if the Coast Guard Cutters ever had to go out in hurricanes. I got to laughing so hard, I could barely hold a few snapshots up for her to see 


Want to help on a little 255 history? Doak Walker has found where the ship's logs on them are kept. Could use some willing hands on getting them in the various large cities where they are held. Wanna help, ask Doak about it. 
Phoenix?


If they have one in Phoenix let me know. I'll run over and pick it up. Now, which 255 was it that was homeported there?


Last OWS -- awwright, once and for all: I know Hotel was the last station to close... which ship actually closed the station? I know it wasn't Bibb; and if I remember correctly, Duane and Taney (and maybe Ingham) were working that station towards the end - must have been in '77 sometime...
Anyone know? 


According to this Article from CGHQ, the USCGC Taney was the last cutter to stand duty on 4YH/C7H, Ocean Station Hotel, which was officially closed in 1977.


Served on two east coast weather cutters and didn't even know there was a OS Hotel? Done many B, C and E's but no H's.


.I spent time on weather patrols on both Atlantic and Pacific stations in the 1950's and do not recall an Ocean Station Hotel. Anyone have details? 


Figment of the Imagination? In researching the question, where was Ocean Station Hotel?  I seem to be drawing nothing but blanks. Even the List of Ocean Stations, found at the Coast Guard Historian's Web site omits Ocean Station Hotel. Google.com, where one can find everything also brings up blanks with the exception of the mention of OS Hotel in the history of the CGC Taney. Looking at at the data bases of the National Weather Service and the National Climatic Data Center, there is no mention on those sites either. Yet I distinctly remember OS Hotel as being just north of Bermuda and whose soul purpose was to make weather observations in relation to the hurricane season. I remember that OS Hotel was, unlike the other ocean stations, only a seasonal position, between April and November, I believe.


Looks like another piece of history falls through the cracks. I'm way too much of a puppy to be talking about topic, but by your leave.... Scheina's US Coasy Guard Cutters & Craft 1946-1990 has an illustration of ocean stations on the end sheets...a 378' WHEC silhouette marked "H" is close off the East Coast off the US, approx over Bermuda. The entry for TANEY says, in part "...19 Mar-15 Apr 76 Served on OS HOTEL - last OS duty by a CG cutter"


Pardon the interruption, gents. I'm really enjoying this conversation  Now back to my playpen... 
Ocean Station Hotel, hazy information


This is digging back a bit but here is what I recollect about HOTEL. Was a reaction by the CG and Weather Service to some Sneaker Hurricane that came up the East Coast in the mid 70's. The Atlantic Stations were long gone and I believe the last NOVEMBER in the Pacific was finished by June 1973. You'll have to look back on east coast hurricane seasons of the mid 70's and see which storm kicked the station back on line. Seems to me it was going to be a 5th District 327' duty. Boston types joked that it was the OS that you could pick up TV signals if atmospherics were right. Those that rode the station, I think they altered the cutter and put a huge radar dome on her. Thinking, may even had to be a knee jerk reaction to some east coast storm ala blizzard of 78'. Anyway, established for political vs Weather reasons. Hope it helps.


Jack's Comments - Two other stations have not been mentioned in these conversations, Able and Fox. Able was in the Denmark Straits and Fox was in the Sargasso Sea. Able was taken over by a European country and that cut down on the longest U.S. patrols of the year. As I remember it was seven days to get to Able. Fox was discontinued and the ship was then stationed at Bermuda on SAR standby. Easy was moved North and East. I made a Howe on the McCulloch in 1950 and it was one of the more nasty weather patrols I ever made. If memory serves me correctly 147 sharks were caught and brought aboard in that 21 days. Several days we weren't allowed on deck. The McCulloch in the early years did not have an air castle and there were more then one man washed over the side in foul weather.\


That's It folks, the closing bell has rung, it is time to hit the sack.

 

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